The Difference
by Alec Finlay

Alec Finlay is an internationally recognised artist, poet and publisher whose work crosses a range of media and forms, from sculpture and collage, to audio-visual, neon and new technologies. Born in Scotland in 1966, much of Finlay’s work reflects on our interaction with nature and considers how we as a culture, or cultures, relate to landscape.

Artist’s website:
alecfinlay.com

after Kafka

the countries of the world are too great
too clear-cut, too conclusive, to contain
all the counties that we have within us

*

how beautiful they are, the islands
that we’ve never been to

*

languages dissolve nations
into song and poem

*

after Benjamin

nations are all romance
but without the poor
of the world
there’d be no myth

*

each night, before we go to sleep
the radio turns off our borders
and broadcasts to all the sailors
far, far, out at sea

*

our laws are imitations

*

the world knows itself as an arc

*

a domain we all share: SKY

a utopian language: ALLONEWORD

a utopian technology: ALLONEWORLD

a notion of the self, given extension and exclusion: NATION

the ‘also ran’ of politics : REGION

the countries on the edge of England: BRITAIN

the Aegean, inverted: HEBRIDES

a glimpse of happiness: HY-BRAZIL

a diminishment to the ray of the nation: EMIGRATION

a little more colour: IMMIGRATION

*

after Sir Thomas Browne

we carry countries within us
that we can only seek without us

*

where should we go

NORTH

when we feel the need

SOUTH

to change our clothes

where should we look

EAST

to find a change in the light

WEST

from day to night

This text is available as a PDF here.